The compliance function of the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for the setting the industry standards enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has issued an enforcement notice in an attempt to stem misleading 'faux fur' claims in clothing.
The enforcement notice arrives a week after Boohoo and Zacharia Jewellers were made to remove real animal fur products from sale, following an investigation that revealed they were being falsely advertised as ‘faux fur’. The retailers flouted rules put in place by CAP.
Informed by these ASA rulings, CAP has therefore deemed the industry needs stricter rules to ensure it doesn't happen again. It has told retailers selling 'faux fur' products to take a stricter approach when checking the supply chain and the accuracy of claims relating to 'faux fur'.
The enforcement notice requires companies to take immediate action to ensure its advertising complies with the product it is selling. After February 11, CAP has threatened to sanction companies that continue to misinform customers.
Recognising that some retailers might struggle to identify real fur, CAP has included guidance on how to tell the difference between animal fur and 'faux fur' in the enforcement notice.
Although CAP advices that laboratory testing is the best method to differentiate between the two, it recognises that this isn't always feasible, and has thus compiled a three-step approach.
Retailers should firstly check the base of the fur of their product where hairs emerge, before checking the tops of the hair to see if it is tapered. The last check is the burn test - real hair singes and smells like burnt human hair, unlike faux which melts like plastic.
Director of CAP, Shahriar Coupal, said: “Misleading advertising is always unfair to consumers and to businesses that compete fairly for people’s custom. Our enforcement notice gives responsible businesses the tools to ensure that ads for ‘faux fur’ products don’t mislead and are marketed responsibly. For companies that continue to mislead, we won’t hesitate to apply sanctions, including referral to our Trading Standards backstop."
Chief executive of ASA, Guy Parker, said: “Consumers shouldn’t be misled into buying a 'faux fur' product in good conscience only for it to turn out to be made from a real animal. That’s not just misleading, it can also be deeply upsetting.”